New Orleans Pelicans: Is Ian Clark getting a fair shake off the bench?


In 14 games this season, Ian Clark hasn’t lived up to the hype surrounding his signing this past summer. The fourth-year sharpshooter can turn things around, but he’ll need to address the woes hampering his production.

The New Orleans Pelicans were in desperate need of outside shooting, so they nabbed Ian Clark fresh off his championship win with the Golden State Warriors. It honestly seemed like a no-brainer since he was struggling to get minutes, playing time and shots in a loaded offensive juggernaut in a team like the defending world champions.

Instead of coming off the bench for either Stephen Curry or Klay Thompson, he would be ideally the first guy to relieve either Jrue Holiday or Rajon Rondo as a designated sixth man.

Let’s just say that hasn’t been the case for the fifth-year veteran out of Belmont University. After signing a one-year minimum contract deal with the New Orleans Pelicans, things haven’t been as smooth as we all thought.

The preseason injury to Rajon Rondo awarded E’Twaun Moore a spot in the starting lineup, while the free agent pickup of Jameer Nelson took away all the shot opportunities and minutes that were meant for Ian Clark.


In the 14 games played so far this season, Ian Clark is averaging 5.6 points, 1.9 assists and 1.8 rebounds. It’s eerily similar to his overall career averages, but there is one problem: He isn’t shooting the ball well at all.

Last season with the Golden State Warriors, he shot 48.7 percent from the field and 37.4 from 3-point range. For the Pelicans he’s 34.1 percent from the floor and 32.6 percent from outside the arc. This is really bad for a guy who was a very important bench player for the best jump shooting team in NBA history. There are a few reasons why Ian Clark has been underperforming so far early in this season.

Ian Clark hasn’t been getting the same looks from 3-point range with the Pelicans compared to when he was with the Warriors last season. The shots he’s taking now are either rushed, contested or out of rhythm. It also doesn’t help that the offensive schemes that the New Orleans Pelicans are deploying haven’t really utilized Ian Clark’s skill-set in these past 14 games.

The last time Ian Clark scored in double digits in the scoring column was in the second and third games of the season when he scored 14 points in each of those games. Ever since then, his point production and shot attempts have been erratic and inconsistent.


What has hurt Ian Clark the most is how he’s being deployed by the coaching staff. Some games he’s used only for defensive possessions and other games he’s used as an offensive decoy. It also doesn’t help that both DeMarcus Cousins and Anthony Davis tend to take a lot of outside jumpers, which have hurt their shooting percentage this season.

It’s clearly an easy remedy to fix what has transpired with the inconsistent play of Ian Clark. Darius Miller is a perfect example of how a talented but struggling shooter has finally hit his stride by being put in the right positions to succeed for the team.

Ian Clark is a really good shooter who can play both on and off the ball. The one positive that is going for him is that he’s averaging 18 minutes per game. Those minutes must be used to get him a bit more involved in the offense by running off screens and pin-downs for open jumpers. He is averaging the highest field goal attempts in his career (5.9 attempts) but those opportunities need to be great shots, not bail-out or contested.

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The New Orleans Pelicans are 8-8 for the season, but they have plenty of time to turn it around. Utilizing their bench to the maximum is one avenue they should look to improve and Ian Clark should be at the top of the list.